Growing British Fundraising Company Moves User Analytics to the Cloud

by   |   July 26, 2012 7:23 pm   |   0 Comments

The British company Everyclick has raised £2.7 million, or $4.24 million, for charities since 2011 by pairing willing shoppers with online retailers that have agreed to participate in their Give as you Live program in return for receiving a wealth of anonymized customer behavior data.

Give as you Live is a downloadable application that works with your web browser.  It directs shoppers to 2,200 participating retailers, allows shoppers to choose from any of the 220,000 registered charities in the United Kingdom they wish support and shows just how much each purchase will donate, at an average of 2.5 pence per pound spent. The participating online retailers include large ones like Tesco, Viking, Apple’s iTunes, Toys R Us, Expedia.co.uk, as well as small shops. Everyclick earns a commission for each sale and splits that fee, giving charities between 50 and 90 percent.

With the business expanding rapidly CEO Polly Gowers said the company decided to switch to the cloud, hiring British company Kognitio to provide their analytical infrastructure as a service (IaaS).  Everyclick has an IT staff of eight people in the U.K., with small teams in India and China as well, and an IT budget “in the neighborhood of £500,000,” Gowers said.

“Our vision is that we want to unearth the hidden millions on the Internet and enable each individual to divert them to a cause of their choice,” Gowers said. “It sounds quite simple when you say it like that, but it requires quite a lot of complex back-end tracking, and that’s where Kognitio come in.”

Give as you Live is providing all the stakeholders involved with the program a wealth of data. Customers are recommended items, charities and participating retailers, based on their shopping behavior as detected by web browser cookies. Charities are a given a view of where their supporters shop, opening the door for corporate partnerships. Retailers see their customers’ shopping habits and what charities customers, as a group, support. Everyclick sees it all, collecting and analyzing the data in an effort to gauge how well their system works.

Gowers said the company is viewing an eventual expansion to the United States, and with promising growth already it was time to take their analytical work to the cloud.

“We wanted to take all our data analytics load off our system and separate it,” she said. “We wanted to take our information at the base level where there is a significant volume of it and ever increasing: we’re growing at 50 percent a month at the moment, so the volume of data we’re going to start producing is enormous.  We wanted to get our processes and our structure right while we had time to breathe. Now we have an affordable way to take a step to allow a smaller company to punch way above its weight.”

The online fundraising field still lags traditional channels, according to a survey Give as You Live conducted with the Institute of Fundraising in the U.K. Although charities see roughly the same size of audiences online and offline, 70 percent of donations arrive via offline channels.

A article in the Guardian last year pointed out that many small charities could find services such as Give as You Live, along with others including JustGiving, eBay for Charity and Google AdWords as cost-effective options to stretch their fundraising budgets.

Kognitio has been selling a massively parallel processing system  for 23 years, and now offers three levels of its analytical platform: a standalone analytical appliance, software to implement an in-memory private cloud system on their own hardware, and the public cloud option Everyclick is now using. In a May CEO Steve Millard told Data Informed that it’s targeting small but growing companies to use its IaaS offering.

Email Staff Writer Ian B. Murphy at ian.murphy@wispubs.com. Follow him on Twitter .

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